Modern cataract surgery has been around for over 75 years and is one of the most common surgeries performed today. About 3.6 million cataract procedures were performed in the United States in 2015, and around 20 million procedures were performed worldwide. But today’s cataract surgery is nothing like cataract surgery in its early days. Here are some ways that cataract surgery has advanced:
- More sophisticated instruments and medications. Eye surgeons use diamond blades to create micro-incisions. Ultrasonic waves break up the deteriorated lens for easy removal. Pre and post-procedure eye drops help prevent infection.
- Use of lasers to perform cataract surgery. While the laser may never completely replace the human hand when it comes to cataract removal, laser-assisted cataract surgery provides a precise, reproducible procedure.
- Customizable lenses. When the old eye lens is removed, an artificial lens called an intraocular lens or IOL, takes its place. There are several types of lenses from which to choose, such as monofocal, astigmatism correcting and multifocal.
- Shorter recovery time. Cataract surgery is an outpatient procedure today. Infection is rare because of antibiotic drops that are prescribed before and after surgery. Small incisions often eliminate the need for sutures, and most patients can resume their daily activities rapidly.
- Convenient locations. Cataract surgery it is often performed in an ambulatory surgery center (ASC) instead of a hospital. ASCs offer personalized care in a smaller environment, and many patients prefer the ease and convenience of an ASC instead of a larger facility.
- Reducing the dependence on eyeglasses. Although multifocal IOLs are usually not covered by insurance companies, many patients choose a multifocal lens so they will not have to wear eyeglasses. Multifocal lenses allow for clear distance and near vision, and many patients claim that their post-procedure eyesight is clearer than it ever was before.
Cataract surgery may sound like it is only for the elderly generation, but that is an incorrect assumption. In fact, 40 and 50-year olds are choosing cataract surgery because they will enjoy more years of clear vision! Talk to your ophthalmologist to find out whether you are a candidate for cataract surgery. Thanks to cataract surgery advancements, lifelong healthy vision is now a reality.